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Chris Christie refuses to rule out presidential run on third-party ticket

Chris Christie refuses to rule out presidential run on third-party ticket
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, who mounted a failed, explicitly anti-Trump challenge for the Republican presidential nomination, refused to rule out running on a third-party No Labels ticket, a step most observers rate more likely to damage Joe Biden than Donald Trump.

Appearing on The Axe Files, a podcast hosted by the former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod, Christie was asked if he was considering a No Labels run for the White House.

Christie said: “You know, I think the way I would look at it is, I will do whatever I can to try to make sure that the country doesn’t go through what I think will be the misery of a second Trump term.

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“There’s a lot between actually running yourself and nothing. But I wouldn’t preclude anything at this point. I would just say that there are a number of hurdles to get over before I would actually consider running as a third-party” candidate.

Founded in 2010, No Labels rejects Republican and Democratic labels, describing itself as “a national movement of commonsense Americans pushing our leaders together to solve our country’s biggest problems”.

Seeking ballot access for the presidential election, and claiming to have qualified in 18 states so far, it has been rebuffed by possible candidates but nonetheless announced a 12-strong “Country Over Party committee” to select a “unity presidential ticket”.

Third-party candidates can act as spoilers to either major-party nominee, as seen in 2016, when the Green candidate, Jill Stein, was seen to damage Hillary Clinton in her defeat by Trump, and in 2000, when another Green, Ralph Nader, took votes from Al Gore as he lost to George W Bush.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the environmental campaigner, vaccine skeptic, conspiracy theorist and independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr angrily rejected the New York Times’ contention that “it requires a certain level of privilege” to run a third-party campaign “without thinking about the possibility of being a spoiler”.

Kennedy cited polling showing widespread dissatisfaction with the current Republican and Democratic candidates, saying: “I’m offering a vision to Americans that they’re not getting: 70% of people in this country do not want a contest between Trump and Biden. Don’t you feel that those people should have an option?”

Though Christie last year called No Labels “a fool’s errand”, he was more equivocal in February, after dropping out of the Republican race.

“What I’ve said in the past,” Christie said, “is that I’d have to see a path for anybody, not just me, but I think anybody who would accept that would need to see a path to 270 electoral votes.

“If there was ever a time in our lifetime when a third-party candidate could make a difference, I think it’s now. The question, though, is what kind of difference.”

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